FORT WAYNE – Four first-round draft picks highlight Fort Waynes opening day roster.
Its extremely exciting, TinCaps president Mike Nutter said of the roster in a phone interview. Its loaded with prospects.
The TinCaps released the roster Saturday.
The team includes outfielder Donavan Tate (No. 3 overall pick in 2009), pitchers Joe Ross (No. 25 overall in 2011) and Michael Kelly (supplemental first round, No. 48 overall in 2011) and infielder Jace Peterson (supplemental first round, No. 58 overall last season).
Theres one of these websites that does Padres prospects that put something out the other day that says this is the most prospect-laden team roster at any level that he could remember, Nutter said. And hes been covering it for 15 or 20 years.
Catcher Austin Hedges, a second-round pick, is ranked the No. 5 prospect in San Diegos organization, according to Baseball America. Ross is ranked No. 9, Peterson is No. 17, Tate is No. 22 and pitcher Adys Portillo is ranked No. 26.
Tate and Portillo are two of six players that spent time with the TinCaps last season.
Tate appeared in six games with the TinCaps last season, hitting .316 with two RBI and two stolen bases, before suffering a knee injury. While rehabbing, he served a 50-game suspension for violating baseballs drug prevention and treatment program after testing positive for a drug of abuse.
Portillo spent time as a starter and reliever for Fort Wayne. He went 3-11 with a 7.11 ERA. The other returning players are infielder Jose Dore (who played the outfield for Fort Wayne last season), pitcher Robert Eisenbach and outfielders Corey Adamson and Alberth Martinez.
Fort Waynes roster also includes Matthew Wisler, a pitcher from Bryan, Ohio, and Justin Hancock, who pitched at Defiance High School.
To have a couple of guys from 40 minutes away from here is really cool, Nutter said.
Outfielder Kyle Gaedele attended Valparaiso University. Pitcher Colin Rea played at Indiana State last season.
The roster has 13 pitchers, two catchers, six infielders and four outfielders.
Jose Valentin is Fort Waynes new manager. Jacque Jones is the new hitting coach. Willie Blair returns as the pitching coach.
The TinCaps open the season Thursday against Lake County. The game begins at 7:05 p.m. at Parkview Field. Nutter said about 5,000 tickets have been sold for the opener.